The Vikings are some of the most interesting maritime people that lived from the late 8th century till the 11th century A.D. that was known as traders, warriors, and explorers. They were the first ones to discover America and traveled all the way to distant Russia.
If you’re interested in finding out something interesting about Vikings’ culture and lifestyle, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll mention six interesting facts and give you an insight into the rich culture of Nordic tribes.
1. The Name
Historians discovered that the name “Viking” originates from the word “Vikingr,” which means pirate. Scandinavian men used summer to travel around Europe and go “Viking.” While historians first thought that every trip south’s goal was to raid and steal, Vikings actually made a lot of trade in some of the biggest cities along the west coast of France and all-around Spain.
The Viking Age started when they decided to migrate to the northeast of England and raid the medieval monasteries while searching for anything valuable. After the bloody conquest, everyone in England began perceiving them as savage usurpers from the North.
2. The Heart of Viking Culture – Long Ships
At the heart of Viking’s culture and way of life are their unique ships. Since they shaped their lives and changed the course of history in Western Europe and beyond, historians try to find out as much as they can.
With more than a thousand years, Scandinavian tribes developed their ship-building skills until they’ve perfected them. They created lightships that could carry large cargo as they were narrow with a few short drafts. With a stable structure, these ships could travel far and long and remain strong to cross over the Atlantic Ocean.
3. Norse Symbols and Their Meanings
Symbols play a significant role in the Viking culture and religion. From merely representing their gods to giving protection to anyone warring them, we notice that different characters had different purposes. In this article about Viking symbols, one of the most important ones is the Valknut. It’s known as the sign of Odin’s knot or Hrungnir’s heart.
Valknut is found on many Viking tombs as it symbolized that Odin is waiting for everyone that died in battle on the other side. The nine corners of three triangles are associated with the belief that nine worlds symbolize life’s circle.
Another important Norse symbol is Yggdrasil, known as the Three of Life. According to Norse mythology, the tree connects all nine worlds, and it’s a symbol of connections between this world and others.
4. Vikings at Newfoundland
It’s known that Vikings set colonies on the west coast of Greenland, and later it was discovered that they traveled all the way to Newfoundland. Archeologists are now certain that there was a settlement there, but there are signs of a few possible colonies in Canada. In Nanook on Baffin Island, researchers even found artifacts that may have been used to produce metal tools and armor.
The discoveries only show us how Vikings had exquisite ships that could withstand strong Atlantic winds. What’s more, their navigation was impeccable as they managed to travel far from home to another continent.
5. Viking Myths and Modern Perceptions
If you read about Vikings in the British history books, from the earliest times, they were depicted as savages that wore horned helmets and killed everything that was standing in their way. Today, we know enough about their culture to see their culture in a different light.
We know that they never wore horned helmets and that, most commonly, they fought bareheaded or had simple leather helmets. Another misconception was that Vikings were dirty and that they didn’t know anything about personal hygiene. On the contrary, historians found a lot of evidence that shows how to keep they were to maintain personal hygiene.
6. Vikings Were Violent
While living in very harsh conditions, Vikings used summers to get enough food for their families to survive harsh winters. While some of them were burning villages and stealing gold, that wasn’t the case with every tribe. Most tribes wanted to trade their goods and establish peaceful economic relationships with surrounding tribes.
Everyone agrees that Vikings are one of the most interesting civilizations that emerged in the Middle Ages. During this time, Vikings traveled around much of Europe, America, and North Africa. They were not only warriors but skillful traders that were selling their good in every major European port.
Now that you know more about them, you might be interested in visiting some of their cities or places where they lived.